After learning of the tragic news from Aurora, Colo., that a lone gunman opened fire on a theatre full of local patrons in attendance of a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, President Barack Obama responded to the news on Friday morning in front of a crowd in Fort Myers, Fla.
Below is a full transcript of President Obama's speech:
I know many of you came here today for a campaign event, President Obama began. I was looking forward to having a fun conversation with you about some really important matters that we face as a country. And the difference is between myself and my opponent in this election. But this morning, we woke up to news of a tragedy that reminds us of all the ways we are united as one American family.
By now, many of you have heard that a few miles outside of Denver in a town called Aurora, at least 12 people were killed when a gunman opened fire in a movie theatre, and dozens more are being treated for injuries at a local hospital. Some of the victims are being treated at a children's hospital. We're still gathering all the facts about what happened in Aurora, but what we do know is that police have one suspect in custody, and the American government stands ready to do whatever's necessary to bring whoever's responsible for this heinous crime to justice.
We will take every step possible to ensure the safety of all of our people. We're going to stand by our neighbors in Colorado during this extraordinarily difficult time. I've had a chance to speak with the mayor of Aurora as well as the governor of Colorado to express -- not just Michelle and myself, but the entire American family -- how heartbroken we are.
Even as we learn how this happen and who's responsible, we may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this. Such violence, such evil, is senseless. It's beyond reason. While we may never know fully what causes somebody to take the life of another, we do know what makes life worth living. The people we lost in Aurora loved and were loved. They were mothers and fathers. They were husbands and wives. Sisters and brothers. Sons and daughters. Friends and neighbors. They had hopes for the future, and they had dreams that were not yet fulfilled. And if there's anything to take away from this tragedy, it's that life is very fragile. Our time here is limited and it is precious. And what matters here isn't the small things, not the trivial things, which often consume us in our daily lives. Ultimately, it's how we choose to treat one another, and how we love one another.
It's what we do on a daily basis to give our lives meaning and to give our lives purpose. That's what matters. At the end of the day, what we'll remember will be those we loved and what we did for others. That's why we're here.
I'm sure many of you who are parents here had the same reaction I did when I heard this news. My daughters go to the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theatre, as so many of our kids do every day? Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls, our little Tiger tonight, and I'm sure you will do with your children, but for those parents who may not be so lucky, we need to embrace them and let them know that we'll be there for them as a nation.
Again, I'm so grateful that all of you are here. I am so moved by your support, but there are going to be other days for politics. This, I think, is a day for prayer and reflection. So what I'd ask everyone to do is I'd like us to pause in a moment of silence for the victims of this terrible tragedy, for the people that knew them and loved them, for those that are still struggling to recover, and for all the victims of less-publicized acts of violence that plague our communities every single day. So if everyone could please, just take a moment.
After about 10 seconds of silence, President Obama began again.
Thank you everybody. I hope you all will keep the people of Aurora in your hearts and minds today. May the Lord bring them comfort and heal them in hard days to come. I am grateful to all of you, and I hope that as a consequence of today's events, you spend a little time thinking about the incredible blessings that God has given us. Thank you very much everybody. God bless you. God bless the United States.
President Obama also released a statement before he spoke in front of the crowd.
Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado, President Obama said in a statement. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time.
We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.
The White House said that Obama's second campaign event in Winter Park, Fla., has been cancelled in light of the tragedy.